People frequently tell me that you should never be ashamed to admit when you are good at something. So to that end i am really good at theatre and drama photography. The Nutcracker which was performed last weekend at The Burnavon Theatre in the Cookstown. Normally i would usually take production stills before the show is opened to the general public. This way i can get very close to the performers as they run through the motions of the show. I always prefer not to stage production stills where possible.
This was the first time i worked with The Burnavon and it would be a real test, mainly because of the distance i would have to take the photos at. Because the audience were present i was restricted to the back of the theatre. Yes you can zoom in to your subjects but when shooting at around 1/250th at 200mm you need to take your body movements in to account to make sure the shots dont come out blurry.
Thankfully i was able to move around out of site of the audience which meant that i could use the roof where the lights were hung. I was sitting right above the heads of the audience shooting down on the action. This would lead to some interesting shots of The Nutcracker.
Because of the fast movement of this performance i had to really ramp up the ISO speed. I needed a high ISO to get a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The slowest shutter speed used was 1/200 going right up to 1/1250. The ISO values for these images ranged from 4000 to 6400.
I did get asked recently why i enjoy this discipline so much. I could not put it down to one particular thing. I love the action on stage and the challenge of trying to get the shot when the subject is constantly changing. Everything is constantly changing thus i am constantly adjusting settings to take this in to account. It really pushes your abilities more than most other types of photography. Usually i have no control over what is happening. You have to just keep up. With The Nutcracker this would be no mean feat.
On a more selfish note i also love theatre photography as its almost always a one man job. There is no other competition there for you to deal with and move around meaning you can just concentrate and get on with the job in hand.